Time to try health care that works

February 03, 2013

Burlington Free Press

The Shumlin administration presented a report on financing a single payer health care system to the Legislature on Jan. 24. It once again demonstrates that we can provide comprehensive health care to all Vermonters at less overall cost. This is the latest in a long line of official reports that has come to the same conclusion about single payer.

The report shows that we will save $281 million over the first three years of a single payer system in Vermont. All Vermonters will be covered, and this coverage will be more comprehensive than what many Vermonters are currently getting, or will get in the exchange. With single payer we replace our premiums with taxes, and the report shows we will be paying less than Vermonters and employers currently pay in premiums ($1.6 billion as opposed to the current amount we pay of $3 billion).

No doubt, this report is just the start. It shows us different sources of revenue for single payer, but it does not recommend a particular mix of taxes. (The Legislature will not vote on a specific plan until 2015). But, let’s keep in mind that for decades, health insurance companies have told us they can fix our broken health care system. They had their chance -- and they blew it! We’re already paying for a broken system. Let’s find a fair way to pay for a system that actually works.

ELLEN OXFELD
Middlebury